Our Hero Bounds Back
Next time I’m going with him.
It didn’t occur to me until right before Ben left for Philadelphia that I’d never been apart from him when he had a surgery. Never, not once, in all the seven surgeries he had was I in even another building. And this time, surgery #8, I was across the country. That’s a bit too far.
It was not easy. For me. For him. I don’t want to repeat it.
I’ve never been with my other children when Ben’s had surgery either. I’ve never seen their anxieties rise to the surface, I’ve never hugged them before bed the night before his surgery to reassure them he would be okay in the morning. I’ve never seen their joy when hearing his voice after a surgery. And felt their relief when told he was on his way back to the hotel.
Not that I didn’t know they felt all those things, but being present with them, and realizing that they also need a parent around during these moments of family crisis was important.
Last night Ben called before going to bed, completely undone by the distance between the two of us. It took a lot of self-control to console him and peel him off the phone into Mark’s arms. He requested that Harry, listening in on the speaker phone, invent a transporter device immediately so I could get to Philly on the double. He asked about 75 times that I hop on a plane and fly out to be there in the morning. His voice was like a small child’s, so vulnerable and sweet. Why did I agree to stay home, I asked myself.
But Toby held my hand as we walked up and down the stairs getting ready for bed, collecting toothbrush and toothpaste, a book to read, his retainer. I needed to get some emails out and update my Facebook status, and he spent the whole time calling from my bedroom, “Are you done yet? When are you coming in here?” Harry gave me a bearhug on the way to bed, after a long anguished day of the blues. I’d attributed it all to general teenage angst (I am so blind sometimes), but this morning he said, “You know, I think all that was about Ben.” You know, I think he’s right.
Next time, I think we’re all going with Ben.
Time has been surreal today. I few hours after saying goodnight to Ben, I awoke at 3 am, to call him as he rode in a taxi to the hospital. It was 6 am in Philly. He was still scared and unhappy, but at least the night was over. I noodled around, playing solitaire on my iPhone (and aggravating my carpal tunnel pain!) while I waited to hear from Mark that Ben had gone in to surgery. About 45 minutes later I got that call and somehow made my way back to bed, falling asleep until the next call, that he was out! Again falling asleep, I was awakened to hear Ben’s voice, groggy and fuzzy, but alert enough to tell me it was over and he was in his room with Daddy.
The sun was up here. At any rate, it was light and foggy outside. Toby woke as I squealed into the phone with delight. “It’s all done! Ben’s out of surgery! Do you want to talk to him?” I asked and so Toby’s first words were for Ben today.
Fast forward through a day of calls and emails and Facebook status updates, it’s 5 pm here and 8 pm there and Mark and Ben are waiting to be discharged. Tonight!
For those of you still unclear on what exactly took place today, here’re the gory details:
- An incision is made on his upper back, into a previous incision, I believe.
- The screws that hold the rod onto his ribs (with hooks) are loosened.
- The rod is moved down about a centimeter.
- The screws are tightened.
- The incision is stitched up and bandaged.
Two hours under anesthesia, but really only about 40 minutes of surgery.
He was given the IV after being sedated which took a huge amount of anxiety and stress off the beginning of the process. He has a large fear of IV’s having been a human pincushion at one point in his life! He had morphine post-op but hasn’t needed any pain meds since. He’s walking around, drinking, eating, joking, peeing…everything you want in a patient before being discharged.
I called and alerted our forces at the RC about our hero’s return. Earlier than expected, but with admirable wounds to prove his mettle. Because of our caution he has three days to play in Philly. A good thing.
Did I say I’m going with him next time? Did I say we all are? Just wanted to mention that.